This is a Big Ten-dominated season in college football.
The latest College Football Playoff rankings seem to indicate this because the conference has two of the four teams in playoff positions, as well as four of the top eight teams in the rankings.
Ohio State figured to move up to the No. 2 spot following the carnage of last weekend that saw the No. 2, 3 and 4 teams behind No. 1 Alabama lose their games.
That included Michigan, which lost to Iowa on a last-second field goal, but Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines still retained the No. 3 position in the rankings.
The top four teams in the rankings are Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Clemson.
College Football Playoff committee chairman Kirby Hocuff explained that the rankings were based on the season-long resume and that his group was impressed with the Wolverines.
“Michigan is the only team with three wins against current CFP Top 10 [teams],” Hocuff said after the rankings were announced (h/t George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press). “Those are three high-quality wins that the committee places high value in.”
Hocuff also praised Ohio State for its consistency and recent form. The Buckeyes have registered back-to-back 62-3 victories at home against Nebraska and on the road at Maryland. Ohio State’s only loss took place on the road against a Top 10 team in Penn State.
Top 5 teams in SOR:
More: https://t.co/WX0YovYFEt pic.twitter.com/hUNAOeB6ab
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 13, 2016
Clemson suffered a loss at home to unranked Pittsburgh last Saturday, but the Tigers are still the fourth-ranked team, one spot ahead of the Louisville Cardinals.
Louisville has the biggest argument against the most recent poll since they were unable to move past Michigan and Clemson despite their losses last weekend. Wide receiver Jaylen Smith’s tweet was typical of the Cardinals’ reaction:
— Jaylen Smith (@JaylenSmith_12) November 16, 2016
Washington, which had been the No. 4 team in the rankings, fell to No. 6 after losing to No. 13 USC.
Wisconsin and Penn State followed at the seventh and eighth positions, while Oklahoma is the No. 9 team and Colorado holds the No. 10 spot.
Oklahoma, Utah, USC, West Virginia and Auburn follow. Western Michigan, the only other unbeaten team besides Alabama, is ranked 21st by the committee.
Louisville’s loss at Clemson hurts them more than Michigan’s loss at Iowa? pic.twitter.com/ylFKUS4nJk
— Houston Kress (@VolRumorMill) November 16, 2016
Hocuff explained that Western Michigan’s problem within the committee room is that it has just one win over an FBS team with a winning record.
Since Michigan and Ohio State will play each other this month, there is little chance that the rankings will remain static at the end of the season.
However, if Alabama remains in the No. 1 position and Clemson sits in fourth, those two would meet in one of the semifinals.
That would be a rematch of last year’s national championship game, which Alabama won after being pushed hard by Deshaun Watson and Co.
A mobile, talented quarterback would appear to have the best chance of leading his team to an upset, or at least a competitive game, against Alabama.
Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett also fits that description should the Buckeyes end up facing the Crimson Tide at any point in the playoffs.